It’s currently the theme of many conferences, webcasts, and podcasts. It’s a hot topic in every executive team meeting. It’s increasingly the focus of culture surveys and the CHRO’s MBOs.

Everyone wants it and few are getting it.

We know there’s not a single formula for increasing employee engagement, but with U.S. unemployment south of four percent, anyone who’s not engaged has lots of options to try their luck somewhere else. And they are, in record numbers.

One strategy to grow engagement is through your culture and the work of your leaders. Leaders are the lynchpins of every organization’s culture, for good or bad. But there’s a big misconception about the role leaders play directly in engagement. Leaders do not create engagement. Leaders do, however, create the conditions for others to choose their own levels of engagement, high or low.

Here are seven considerations to ask yourself and leaders in your organization about creating the right conditions where people choose to stay and stay highly engaged.

  • As a formal leader of people, are you relatable? Can those who report to you have a real, raw, vulnerable conversation with you about any topic on their mind?
  • Can they trust you to keep that conversation confidential and not share the details with others?
  • Do you proactively set time aside to listen and meet with your team members on topics they choose, not only those on your agenda?
  • Are you lifting their brands and contributions through an abundance mindset?
  • Are you open to pollinating their talents into other divisions of the organization or are you focused on holding their talents back for your own benefit?
  • Do you make it safe for them to tell you their truth, about what it’s like to work with and for you?
  • Have you created goals that are clear, compelling, and winnable? And when your team does win, do you celebrate—with wild abandon?

Leading people is hard. It’s really, really hard and not for everyone. But if you hold the position, you need to step to the plate and work on these seven areas consistently.

In a perfect world, your team would magically show up to work fully committed to their goals—one of the keys to accomplishing anything as a team. But, since that’s not an option in the real world, download our guide to get your team on board and moving in the right direction.



Scott Miller

FranklinCovey Executive Vice President, Though Leadership